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A primer on modifying application icons Apps
Are you tired of boring icons? Well, if you are, all you have to do is edit the icns file yourself. Now someone might say, how do I do that or how can I make an icon myself? But the truth is, you don't have to! All you have to do is modify the existing one to suit your needs with a picture editing program like Photoshop (and I bet there are others that are free). Here's how:
  1. Locate the application whose icon you'd like to change.
  2. Control-click on the application, pick Show Package Contents from the pop-up menu, and navigate to Contents » Resources.
  3. Locate the icns file in the Resources folder controlling the Dock icon. It will usually be called the application_name.icns
  4. Hold Option while dragging the file to your local directory and out of the application folder. Holding Option will make a copy instead of moving the file.
  5. Open the file up in Preview and save the file as a png instead of icns; this allows Photoshop to be able to open it.
  6. Usually the only thing that needs to be done to make an icon look great and fun is just a change in color scheme (here are some examples), so open up the file in Photoshop (I'm using Elements 4), and navigate to Enhance » Adjust Color » Adjust Hue/Saturation (Command-U).
  7. Ignore the saturation and lightness, unless of course you don't want to. Drag the hue slider to your prefered setting.
  8. Save the file.
  9. Download a program like img2icns to convert the file back to icns.
  10. Once converted, drag the old icon file out of the Resources folder of the application, and drag in the new. Re-open the app, and you will see the new and improved icon.
A few tips: Always keep a backup of the old icon, especially with system apps that you cant just redownload. Don't go crazy on this, because one day you will wake up not liking any of the changes and have to go back to fix them all. Black and white are colors that do not change when changing the hue; keep that in mind when choosing what application icons you want to change.

[robg adds: This is a fairly basic hint, but for those new to OS X who wish to tweak their icons, it's a pretty good starter tutorial. Note that you can avoid the file conversion steps if you use some of the available OS X icon editors. A good list of icon tools for OS X can be found here; Iconographer is a full-blown icon editor, and very good at what it does.]
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A primer on modifying application icons | 8 comments | Create New Account
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Another way to convert icons to PNG
Authored by: mustang_dvs on Apr 30, '07 08:21:48AM

You can also use the command line to convert icns to png:

http://www.macosxhints.com/article.php?story=20051225191249727

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A primer on modifying application icons
Authored by: benjherb on Apr 30, '07 09:17:31AM

Really a simple thing to do. Not really to useful to me to be able to change my icons.

---
-Ben ;)



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A primer on modifying application icons
Authored by: get-a-mac on Apr 30, '07 10:32:17AM

How is this better than the simple: get info, select icon, copy icon, get info, select icon, paste? (copying a nice, pre-existing replacement icon, of course)



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A primer on modifying application icons
Authored by: craigw on Apr 30, '07 12:49:03PM
The icns file can tell Finder how to display the documents that belong to that application. For example, I replace just the rtf.icns & rtfd.icns files in TextEdit with these beautiful icons:
TextEdit icons
That way rtf & txt files are more clearly distinct looking in Finder.

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A primer on modifying application icons
Authored by: wallybear on May 02, '07 03:35:19AM

Actually icons files don't tell anything to Finder about opening files, but they are only a visual hint for the user (Finder doesn't have eyes, to date)...



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A primer on modifying application icons
Authored by: enigmamf on May 01, '07 07:58:08AM

One step further: You can copy the icon from the Info window, paste into Photoshop, edit, copy the graphic, and paste into the Info window. No conversion or saving necessary.



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A primer on modifying application icons
Authored by: Serj on May 02, '07 10:03:12PM

I'm not new to Mac OS X. However, I didn't know about this trick (I've always used Command-I, etc. to change the icon). So, thanks for the tip.



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A primer on modifying application icons
Authored by: taxi on May 04, '07 12:31:05AM

If you have lots of replacing to do, I'd suggest AppHack (google it, I don't have a link), which allows you to do this in a much easier way.



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